This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Xmas Legs Small Present Present
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
US
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Kitcare part 5: Tents
Trek & Mountain Magazine

Kitcare part 5: Tents

Posted Thursday, May 21, 2015   |   1436 views   |   Leisure Interest   |   Comments (0) Ryan Waters continues his series with some sage advice on looking after tents

They are our home away from home in the mountains. They provide comfort, rest, shelter, even safety and are probably the most important piece of kit we own. We are talking about our tents of course.

Thanks to advances in lightweight ripstop nylon and aluminium pole construction, mountaineering tents have evolved into relatively lightweight and strong shelters. They are durable but they take a beating and must endure everything from ultraviolet sun exposure and rough, rocky surfaces to general neglect or outright abuse from the dirtbags that inhabit them (that’s us!). It is easy to think that shelling out loads for an expensive top-of-the-line mountain tent means you are literally covered, but years of experience in the harshest environments on earth have taught us that tents need as much care – if not more – than the rest of our kit.
THE FABRIC
Mountaineering tents come in two main types, single-wall and double-wall. No matter which you use, the forces of nature and humans for that matter, are the same. The sun is your tent’s enemy and its ultraviolet rays are always at work breaking down the material. The constant warming and cooling of the fabric also wreaks havoc on sewn pull tabs as the tent fly stretches tight in the sun and slack in the cold night. A really pro tip is to loosen your fly sheet in the day as the sun cooks it into a super-tight position. This gives it some slack and avoids wear and tear; tighten the straps back before night when he fabric will loosen and rattle.

Pay close attention to where you pitch your tent. If applicable, use a footprint which will save the floor fabric on rough or rocky surfaces and always shake or sweep out debris and dirt from the inside before packing away. Keep a very close eye on the seams of your main tent body and flysheet. Most tents come from the factory pre-sealed and taped at the seams. These need to be re-sealed from time to time to repel water from critical connections of fabric. Use a product such as Seam Seal and closely follow their directions for application.

WASH AFTER USE
This will greatly increase the lifespan of your tent and remove the grime and dirt from the fabric as well as make it more pleasant inside. Hand-wash your tent in a mild soap or use a product like Grangers Tent Cleaner. Make sure to rinse thoroughly and hang it to dry in a shady spot. Always carry ripstop tape and a pole sleeve in your repair kit. If you get a hole or a tear in the ripstop nylon of your tent or fly you can cut a circle-shaped patch from your tape and stop the hole from getting worse.

POLES
Poles have come a long way over the last several decades. They are incredibly light for how strong they can be, but you must avoid a hasty job of connecting the poles and avoid slamming them into place. This will wear out the ends of the poles and stretch out the bungee cord that connects the individual pole sections. You never know when you will have a broken or cracked pole so the pole sleeve in your repair kit is there in an emergency and can substitute as a temporary taped-on system to make your pole last through the trip.
ZIPPERS
These are the waiting timebomb on a heavily used tent. Wear and tear on zippers causes the slider – the piece that you actually zip up and down to close the fabric teeth – to start to wear down due to dirt and grit. This makes the zipper teeth fail to engage and open up behind the slider. Keeping your tent clean, especially the zippers, will reduce the time it takes for them to fail, but eventually it will happen and you may need to replace the slider or entire zipper strip. A quick fix is to pinch the slider from front to back with pliers, which will often cinch down the inner workings enough to engage the zipper teeth for the short term.

DRYING AND ROLLING
A dry tent is a tent that is ready to be either packed or stored. It is crucial to dry out all the fabric before packing it away. If not, the moisture will create mildew causing unsightly staining and funky odour inside your tent. So hang your tent in a shady breezy spot if you have it, before you pack it away for long-term storage.

To role, or not to role, has been debated for years; what about stuffing? The common wisdom dictates that it does not matter wether you roll your tent, fold it, or stuff it into the supplied stuff sack for storage, but that you alternate the methods from time to time. This will keep any creases from forming in your tent. It is also recommended to store your tent long term in a simple box or cotton stuffsack so it is loose and can breath. Just make sure it is in a dry place out of direct sunlight to avoid mildew.

RE-PROOFING
Like our waterproof shell layers, our tents are often coated or impregnated with a Durable Waterproof Repellent (DWR). Like our shells they need to be retreated from time to time. Again, pay close attention to the signs that say you probably should re-treat (typically after a couple of seasons of normal use, say); water no longer beading and running off the surface of the rainfly; more condensation forming on the inside of your tent during the night; precipitation no longer beads up but appears patchy wet on the material.

After you wash your tent and let it dry, find a nice spot to set up the tent, ideally a covered area so you have time to apply the re-proofer and let the tent stand for drying. Choose a product like Grangers Tent Care which is a durable silicone based waterproofer specifically designed to jump start your DWR finish back to life.

For more great articles like this get the January 2014 issue of Trek & Mountain Magazine below or subscribe and save.

Single Issue - Sep-Oct 18 Replica Edition included
$3.99
Or 399 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 3.00 per issue
SAVE
25%
$35.99
Or 3599 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $ 2.99 per issue
SAVE
25%
$2.99
Or 299 points

View Issues

About Trek & Mountain Magazine

Trek & Mountain is aimed at trekkers and mountaineers of all levels, and features the world’s most spectacular mountain regions in every issue. Our experts give you vital information on which routes to choose, what equipment to buy and what techniques and knowledge you need to safely achieve your objectives. Whatever you dream, our aim is to help you ‘reach your peak’.

More great content like this...

For more great articles like this subscribe to Trek & Mountain Magazine today.

Trek & Mountain Magazine
Annual Digital Subscription for $35.99 saving 25%

Most read articles this month


THE U-BOAT COAST

THE U-BOAT COAST

The WW1 U-boats at Pendennis have been dived for many years, by many people. The site is probably the second most popular shore-dive in Cornwall. Thousands of trainees did their first open-water dives there, most seeing the remains of one or two of the U-boats. Not sure what to write into their log-books, other than 'Silver Steps’ or ‘Pendennis’, what were these subs? MARK MILBURN investigates, and believes he can now paint a clearer picture of what lies where and why More...
The 5 Best Aviation Magazines

The 5 Best Aviation Magazines

Get ready to take your knowledge of aviation to new heights with our carefully curated list of aviation digital magazines. More...
The 5 Best Fishing Magazines

The 5 Best Fishing Magazines

Avid fisher? Or simply passionate about the pastime? Feed your fishing thrills with our 5 best fishing magazines from Pocketmags and cast your line with confidence today! More...
A Review of Dazed Magazine by Pocketmags

A Review of Dazed Magazine by Pocketmags

It is not about the latest ‘it’ bag or must-have accessory of the season, it is not about which celebrity was the best-dressed at last week’s awards ceremony or who has committed a serious fashion faux-pas. It is fully about redefining the status quo and challenging our conception of beauty - it is the one and the only Dazed magazine. More...
The 5 Best Baking Magazines

The 5 Best Baking Magazines

Passionate baker or dessert lover, here at Pocketmags there’s a digital magazine to make all your sweet dreams come true! More...
The 5 Best Scale Modelling Magazines

The 5 Best Scale Modelling Magazines

Start creating your very own miniature world today with one of our 5 best scale modelling magazines! More...
The 5 Best Vegan and Vegetarian Magazines

The 5 Best Vegan and Vegetarian Magazines

Inspire your meat-free lifestyle with our 5 best vegan and vegetarian digital magazines! More...
SURPRISE MAINLAND PACKAGE

SURPRISE MAINLAND PACKAGE

You don’t have to stay on a Greek island to enjoy Greek diving with all the trimmings, and ‘best-kept secret’ Epidavros offers its own argument for a mainland base. STEVE WEINMAN reports More...
The 5 Best Healthy Food Magazines

The 5 Best Healthy Food Magazines

Health crazes are more seeming than ever; a major craze embracing the scene on the regular. We have the 5 best healthy food magazines to leave you feeling positive and vitalised. More...
The 5 Best Music Magazines

The 5 Best Music Magazines

Whether you’re an active listener, player or can get up and boogie to your favourite jam, here at Pocketmags, we have the 5 best music magazines to keep the beat alive in you all year round. More...
Vouchers Gift Cards A magazine subscription is the perfect gift but you'll need something to show on the big day. View All
Ways to Pay Pocketmags Payment Types
At Pocketmags you get Secure Billing Great Offers HTML Reader Gifting options Loyalty Points